CK Press Box Report: Houston Rockets 112, Sacramento Kings 102

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The Sacramento Kings let a winnable game slip through their hands, both literally and figuratively.

The Kings committed half of their 12 turnovers in the final frame, while letting the Houston Rockets run a passing clinic all game long.  In a 112-102 loss at Sleep Train Arena, the Kings allowed the opposition to dish out 32 assists on Wednesday.

The Rockets had five players score in double figures, including James Harden and Jeremy Lin.  The Rockets backcourt combined to record 19 of Houston’s 30-plus assists in the victory.

The Kings fall to 27-48 overall and 19-18 at Sleep Train Arena.  The Kings have now lost their last three home outings and will attempt to snap that streak Friday against the visiting Dallas Mavericks.

Notes and Analysis

  • Chandler Parsons could not be stopped tonight.  The Rockets small forward pitched practically a perfect game for Houston, scoring a game-high 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting.  Parsons scored 14 of his points on 7-of-9 shooting around the rim.
  • The Kings let Omer Asik run wild.  The normally low scoring big man chipped in 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Houston in the victory.  Outside of seven free throws, all of his points were practically scored around the rim on easy dunks or layups.
  • James Harden played the role of facilitator this evening.  The superstar guard finished with nine assists to go along with 21 points in the victory.
  • Jeremy Lin recorded his ninth double double of the year, finishing with 15 points and 10 assists.  With the Kings trailing by five and less than three minutes to go, Lin connected on a shot-clock beating three that all but sealed the deal for Houston.
  • Tyreke Evans overcome early foul trouble to be a factor in this one.  The Kings starting shooting guard played just 29 minutes, but finished with 22 points on 18 shots on the night.
  • Marcus Thornton recorded his 14th 20-point outing of the season, finishing with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting in 22 minutes.  The Kings sixth man scored eight of his 20-plus points in the fourth quarter.
  • Jason Thompson put together a nice game in defeat, finishing with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting and a season-high 15 rebounds.  The effort was his 11th double double of the year.
  • Stat of the Night:  In the fourth quarter alone, the Kings committed six turnovers.  In contrast, they turned the ball over just six times in the first three periods.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  What kind of reception will Thomas Robinson receive from those in attendance?

Kings fans did not have a chance to see the player their team selected fifth overall in last year’s draft.  Robinson was a healthy scratch from this evening’s game, earning a did-not-play coach’s decision from Kevin McHale.  Greg Smith and fellow rookies Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas played the bulk of the minutes at power forward for Houston tonight.  Jones was impressive for the Rockets, recording his first-career double double with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

2.  What kind of reception will Francisco Garcia receive from those in attendance?

With about two minutes to go in the first period, the veteran swingman checked into the game.  For the first time as a member of an opposing team, Garcia received a nice ovation from the home crowd.  In his return to Sacramento, the 31-year-old swingman finished with three points in roughly 13 minutes of play.

3.  Which, if any, of the former Rockets-turned-Kings is a factor in tonight’s game?

All three ex-Rocket players saw time in tonight’s game for Keith Smart.  However, none of them really made a huge statistical dent in the box score.  Due to a strong outing by Jason Thompson, Patrick Patterson finished with just two points and three rebounds in 16 minutes.  Toney Douglas gave the Kings a solid effort on defense, but scored no points on 0-of-3 shooting.  Cole Aldrich played sparingly in the first half and totaled just 12 minutes of game action.

Quotes of the Game

Keith Smart’s opening remarks:

That was a really disappointing loss for our basketball team.  I understand that Houston came out with a sense of urgency, but I thought that we still had an opportunity to play great.  We got off to an unfinished start.  We went 19-for-47 as far as finishing plays in the paint.  If you get to the paint, you have to finish those plays.  This was a very, very bad loss for us and our fans.  We played, but we didn’t create the opportunity to win on the floor.  They made the plays that won the basketball game and we didn’t.  Our fans did a good job of encouraging this basketball game, but we weren’t able to take it tonight.

Kevin McHale on how the game became a running contest in the second half:

They have kind of a high-octane offense.  They started hurting us for awhile just on pick-and-rolls.  Tyreke Evans was just playing downhill and getting to the foul line.  We kind of gotten that straightened out and overall, it was a good win for us.

Jeremy Lin on the Rockets’ ball movement:

I thought today was one of our most unselfish games that we’ve had.  Just letting shots find players.  We had a lot of extra passes tonight.  We needed 112 points on the road, we’ll take that.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.